Talk:William I of the Netherlands

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There are really three different people that need to be un-confused here:

  • Willem I Count of Holland, (1203-1222)
  • Willem I, Stadtholder of Holland died 1584 ([[William I of Orange])
  • Willem I King of the Netherlands (this one)


It's not that big an issue, at least as far as the title is concerned. The first one is not a problem, since he was count of Holland only. The second, William the Silent never had "of the Netherlands" in his title (stadtholders belonged to each province individually, even if they were stadtholder in most of them at the same time, the United Provinces were not a unified state). So, only the latter was ever properly "William of the Netherlands". A bigger problem would be disambiguating all the different William of Oranges, since the latter could also be called "William I of Orange (Nassau)"... Scipius 18:01 Oct 4, 2002 (UTC)

OK jcwf

POV Issues[edit]

'The purpose was exterminating Catholicism and French' is highly non-NPOV and simply untrue. There is no indication of that at all. In fact in protestant cicles there was unhapiness about the king too, because he wanted too much influence on the dutch reformed church. Later there was even a schism about that. The remark that Willem was strongly reformed is probably not accurate either therefore. What is true is that in Belgium this king has long been vilified as 'raison d'être' for the Belgian state. Ironically that is even so in Flanders although the king's insistance of Dutch as national language was one of the main reasons that he lost his mostly francophone/liberal support in the south. Flanders went along with the rebellion because the Catholic church was very powerful there and the Church wanted a political foothold in this part of Europe. The sudden alliance of liberals and catholics is known as the monsteralliance. The Flemish people paid a heavy price for the emergence of the Belgian state however. Their emancipation only came in the 1960s, that of their catholic brethren in the north (still 1/3 of the population there) about a century earlier.


  • I tried to tone this down a little, but I don't know enough about the subject to do it correctly. Jcwf, why don't you rewrite this paragraph to make it more accurate and neutral? RussBlau 10:31, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)


On this page the dates of the reign of William I are said to be 1813-1843, but on Dutch monarchy they claim the dates to be 1815-1840. One of these should be corrected. Asbestos | Talk 09:20, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

William became Sovereign Prince, or some such, in 1813, but the Kingdom of the Netherlands was only created in 1815. He abdicated in 1840, and died in 1843 (as is explained in the article). john k 20:09, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Hereditary stadtholder?[edit]

The following statement appears in the article:

  • William was hereditary stadtholder when the Republic of the Seven United Provinces was invaded by the French Revolutionary armies.

Is "hereditary stadtholder" a proper title that refers to the heir to the stadtholdership, as in the current Luxembourgish title "Hereditary Grand Duke"? If so, the title should be capitalized. If not, this sentence should be corrected, as in common English usage it implies erroneously that William had inherited the stadtholdership before the French invasion. RussBlau 10:29, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)

He was Hereditary Stadtholder (Dutch: erfstadhouder) in the same sense as Henri of Luxembourg used to be Hereditary Grand Duke. -- 17:01, 17 Jan 2006 (UTC)
I don't think so. The Hereditary Stadtholders since 1747 were William IV and William V. They weren't monarchs in the sense that they were sovereigns. No titles existed for the family members of the Hereditary Stadtholder. Gerard von Hebel (talk) 15:10, 5 July 2013 (UTC)


We need pictures of the first 3 Williams!

Reignal name[edit]

During his reign,, gentlemen, was he styled as Willem or Willem I?--Anglius 20:16, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Willem. Without the ordinal. Gerard von Hebel (talk) 19:52, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Name of republic[edit]

I've reverted the changes by Alast0r. The correct name of the state was indeed Republic of the Seven United Provinces. Mvdleeuw 12:15, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

There was no official name in the present sense. The use of the term "Seven Netherlands" was coined by historians. A name used in 18th century diplomacy however was "United Provinces". Gerard von Hebel (talk) 19:55, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Mr. Von Hebel is correct - "The Republic of the United Provinces" is the correct name. (talk) 19:23, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Monarchical Styles Infobox[edit]

This infobox, besides looking like a gaudy wine label, doesn't have any practical use in this biography. It's a bit silly (and not at all reverent) to address a King of the Netherlands in English, especially when he has been in his tomb for a long time. I'm going to remove it, as (for instance) happened on the King Christian VIII of Denmark page. Glatisant (talk) 12:32, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Relation to Napoleon[edit]

"Napoleon Bonaparte gave him some small German principalities as indemnities for the lost territories."

Yeah sure.. That sounds, to me, like Napoleon gave it to him, like a sort of compensation. I remember that from the history books I read, that Willem I begged Napoleon to give him something. Hence treason, and opportunistic, and not really caring if he would be ruler of the Netherlands or any other part of the world, just as long as it would give him status. Now this might be my person political point of view, but you might want to reconsider that phrase. Ok, I am Dutch, and I am republican, I admit. — Preceding unsigned comment added by AntonHogervorst (talkcontribs) 10:57, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

New sections about military career and exile[edit]

I have added information about the Hereditary Princes's military career during the Flanders Campaign and his activities in exile, accompanied by citations. Strangely, those are difficult to find, except in the older literature. I was forced to go back to François de Bas and his magisterial books about William's younger son Prince Frederick of the Netherlands, which is now available in Google Books online (so I have provided links). Unfortunately only in Dutch. For English references Simon Schama is the authority, but he is rather hostile to William, rightly so, in my view :-) Though I have provided citations for my additions, the article remains bereft of citations in other parts. I think those may best be provided by the editors who wrote the older text.--Ereunetes (talk) 22:50, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Potential confusion about Erfprins and Erfstadhouder[edit]

As Prince of Orange originally was a regnal title, only one person at a time could be "Prince of Orange" (just as there can only be one "King of the Netherlands" at a time). This potentially created the problem what to call his eldest son while both were alive. Interestingly, this problem for the first time arose in practice only with William VI/I, because previously there never were adult eldest sons alive during their father's reign. William the Silent inherited the title at age eleven from René of Châlon by testamentary provision, when the latter died in 1544. Both Maurice and Frederick Henry inherited the title from an elder brother and were referred to as "count of Nassau" before that. William II inherited the principality already in 1647 (at age 21) so there were only three years during which the styling problem potentially arose (as during people's minority there usually is no need to differentiate them from their father), but I think in practice it never arose. William III was a posthumous child and therefore held the title from birth. As he died without issue, things were a mess after 1702 for a while, as there were two claimants for the title (see Second_Stadtholderless_Period#The_complicated_succession_of_William_III_in_his_regnal_titles_and_possessions), but both claimed the regnal title from 1702 on. This was resolved in 1732 (by which time the regnal title had become defunct) by giving the title to both claimants (but only one per family at the same time). Only in 1748, with the birth of William V the matter became theoretically urgent, as his father William IV lived till 1751, but as he was a toddler during those three years the matter of styling was only theoretical. The matter finally became serious at the majority of his son William VI/I at age 18 in 1790. We see that from about that time contemporaries (and later historians) started calling him by the title Erfprins (Hereditary Prince) to distinguish him from his father, who remained the one and only "Prince of Orange." Presumably this usage was borrowed from the German usage of Erbprinz for elder sons below royal rank (see German_nobility#Non-reigning_titles). He kept this moniker until William V died in 1806. But by that time William VI in his own right had received the Principality of Nassau-Orange-Fulda in exchange for the title of Prince of Orange (by a Franco-Prussian Convention of May, 1802, annex to the Treaty of Amiens). Exit "Prince of Orange" one would expect, but William started using the title again after he was deprived of this German principality. Only in 1815, when he proclaimed himself king of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands did the title change character completely, because William conferred the title as a courtesy title on his eldest son William II (who to my knowledge never was referred to as Hereditary Prince). As long as we are careful to use the title Erfprins for William VI in the period since 1790 and before 1806 no confusion need arise, especially with his father. I have made the necessary edits in Flanders Campaign where he was consistently referred to as "Prince of Orange", while this title still belonged to his father.

Unfortunately, an other kind of potential confusion looms, because especially Orangist historians in the 19th century, trying to make a point, referred to grandfather William IV as Erfstadhouder (Hereditary Stadtholder) for the period after 1748, and for William V for his entire period in the office. This is technically correct, as the stadtholderate became hereditary for all provinces in 1748 (it had been hereditary for William III in the provinces where he was stadtholder since 1673, but as he died without issue the matter never became operational and the office was left vacant after 1702; in Friesland the office had become hereditary before 1664, but for a different brach of the House of Nassau). But Hereditary Stadtholder was only an informal designation and the fact that the office became hereditary did not change its constitutional position: the States-General of the Netherlands and the provincial States remained the sovereigns in the Dutch Republic and the stadtholder just their "First Servant" (as the constitution of the Republic was rather unique I think it is fruitless to try and "explain" what this meant with the terminology of the Trias politica; the answer to the question whether the stadtholder was the "chief executive" has to be "Yes and No", as the Grand Pensionary also had a claim to that designation). However this may be, no contemporary would have referred to the eldest son of the Hereditary Stadtholder as the Hereditary Prince because "stadtholder" was not a regnal title, and it would have scandalized contemporaries (William V, who always was a staunch republican included) to refer to him as a "prince." In conclusion, William VI was called "Hereditary Prince" because he was the eldest son of the Prince of Orange, not because he was the eldest son of a functionary some refer to as "Hereditary Stadtholder". But inevitably the two things became conflated in the minds of many, even those who should know better. This confusion has even often served as justification for conferring "monarchical" status on both William V and VI retroactively. I think we should give no further ground to such confusion and have therefore edited the article in the sense that the spurious link between the designation Erfprins/Hereditary Prince (which remains useful in the article)and Hereditary Stadtholder has been cut.--Ereunetes (talk) 20:38, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

File:William I of the Netherlands.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:William I of the Netherlands.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on August 24, 2016. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2016-08-24. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. — Chris Woodrich (talk) 01:23, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

William I of the Netherlands
William I (1772–1843) was a Prince of Orange and the first King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg. William implemented controversial language policies, founded many trade institutions and universities, and adopted a new constitution. However, the southern Netherlands became increasingly marginalized, and in 1830 the Belgian Revolution broke out. The war against the newly-declared Belgium caused considerable economic distress for the Netherlands, and in 1839 William signed the Treaty of London, which recognized Belgium. William abdicated the following year.Painting: Joseph Paelinck

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